Tegan Grech started her time with VMCH during Stage 4 restrictions, which is an unusual start for anyone coming into a new job. However, the use of technology is second nature to the people she spends her time working with – young people.
Tegan is a case manager in the Carer Support Program, where she works with young carers to support them and sustain them in their role.
What do you do as part of your role?
I work with young carers one-to-one as well as supporting our engagement team who run group activities with young people.
My role is to provide support to young people who are caring for a loved one, that could be siblings, or other family members, and to give them as much support as they need to assist them in their role.
Sometimes this could just be having a chat and talk about their stress, and providing them space and some strategies to help. We also work alongside other young carer services and have recently set up a blog for the young people to share their experiences, as well as express their creativity.
Moving to an online space has also been a shift that the team have eagerly adapted to and delivering our first school holiday program online has been managed like a dream. Today I am making pottery with the young people, who knows what tomorrow holds.
What are the challenges for carers that we might not think about? What should we be more aware of?
Caring for a loved one places additional stress on someone. The young people I work with have become master jugglers and could teach me a thing or two! Managing school, homework, part time jobs, social lives and also the additional supports they might be providing at home has been eye opening. While they are young, this does not lesson the responsibilities they take on.
What sort of things do our carers need help with?
This can vary a lot. Sometimes it’s just someone to talk to, a safe space to talk about how they are coping with life. Sometimes they want that peer engagement and really want to connect with others in similar circumstances, which is invaluable. Sometimes it’s just to let off some steam and have some fun.
What can we do to help carers?
I think the thing that’s often not asked of young people is what do YOU want? What are YOUR goals? What are the things YOU want to achieve? So often young people are included in the family’s goals and nothing is really addressed for them on a personal level. I think asking the questions about them and their experience is the first step in giving them their own autonomy.
What is your hope for those who are a primary carer?
I don’t put expectations on people – this is an error we often make. I have only the hope that whatever they want to achieve is what we can work on together. I want them to be as fulfilled as possible in whatever they choose to do.